Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta has confirmed he will leave the club at the end of the season, ending a 22-year association.
Iniesta, who celebrates his 34th birthday next month, is on the brink of winning his ninth league title with the club and his 32nd title in total.
“This is my last season at Barcelona,” Iniesta began in his press conference, which was attended by the club’s first-team squad.
“This was a decision which took a lot of thought. Barcelona are the best club in the world and they have given me everything.
“This club deserves the best version of me and in the near future I will not be able to give that…it is best for me to leave this club feeling important, still winning titles.
“It is very difficult for me to say these words but I am so thankful to everyone at Barca and La Masia who made me who I am.
“I will always carry Barcelona in my heart. I want to thank everyone who has been with me in the bad times and the good.
“I will never forget the day I debuted in Bruges as from there all my dreams have become a reality.
“Everything went very well this year, both individually and collectively. That was the most important thing.
“There are things to talk about and to finalise. I always said I would never compete against my club. At the end of the season I will communicate the place I have chosen.
“My idea of happiness does not depend on winning Ballon d'Ors or not. I prefer the affections of fans when I go to stadiums.
“I had a desire to succeed here and I have succeeded. It is too early to assess whether I will return someday, hopefully I can and try to teach what I have learned.
“Messi? It has been an honour to share so many magical moments with him. There's no one like Leo. For me professionally and as a friend, sharing those moments has been unique and magical.
“I want to be remembered as a good footballer and a good person. When we retire and the football is over, we are all just people.”